Amateur Bodybuilder Of The Week: Mike O'Connor Lifts With Power!

Mike's physique is the product of precise programming and powerful lifts. See how this competitor stays shredded to stand out on stage!


How did your bodybuilding journey begin?

I did push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups in my room as a kid, and started weight training in high school for varsity hockey. When I graduated high school, I continued working out through and after college. Three years ago, I grasped proper programming and nutrition. Until that point, I trained with a mentality that "more is better" and didn't have a nutrition program in place to support my training and recovery. I was 175 pounds and fit, but not where I wanted to be.

During the next two years I trained hard consistently and focused more on intensity and frequency as opposed to volume. I also ate nonstop. I got up to more than 220 pounds and became a little soft. In 2012, I trained specifically for powerlifting for six months. At the meet, I totaled 1,511 pounds raw with a 629-pound deadlift at a body weight of 213 pounds. My focus was to build strength, but powerlifting also increased my base, size, and thickness in my legs and back.

After my powerlifting saga, I went back to my true passion, bodybuilding, and shifted my focus from strength to hypertrophy—although the two can go hand in hand. In January 2013, I started my prep with Skip Hill to become the most conditioned competitor on stage, which is exactly what TEAM Skip helped me achieve.

"After my powerlifting saga, I went back to my true passion, bodybuilding, and shifted my focus from strength to hypertrophy."

What workout regimen delivered the best results?

I keep a log book and use 1-2 core lifts per workout to gauge progress. Before my heavy working sets, I glance at my log to make sure I progress in weight or reps. If I don't progress, I make adjustments to avoid stagnation.

How did your passion for bodybuilding emerge?

My passion for bodybuilding emerged from the healthy results, positive effects, and the continuous challenge to strive and improve. The consistency, dedication, focus, and discipline required helped me in other areas of life. I enjoy having a goal to work toward. Achieving my personal goals is very rewarding.

What or Who motivated you to be a bodybuilder?

Early on, and even still, Arnold was my biggest inspiration. When I started bodybuilding, the continuous results provided additional motivation to keep pushing for more.

Where did you go for inspiration?

My fiancee and I offer continuous encouragement and support for each other to stay motivated. I also watch motivational bodybuilding videos to get pumped before a workout.

What are your future bodybuilding plans?

I recently competed in my first show, the 2013 NPC Europa Battle of Champions, and placed first in the novice heavyweight class and second in the open light-heavyweight class. My plan is to add size in the next two years and compete at the 2015 Arnold Amateur in classic bodybuilding with the help of my coach Skip Hill. I like the symmetry and lines of this division and the focus it puts on classic, ideal proportions.

What is the most important bodybuilding tip?

Be consistent and switch it up if something doesn't work or gets stale. Make sure your nutrition supports your training and allows you to rest, recover, and grow.

"Be consistent and switch it up if something doesn't work or gets stale."

Who is your favorite bodybuilder?

Dusty Hanshaw has unbelievable drive, determination, and intensity. I also admire Mark Dugdale, Jay Cutler, Ben Pakulski, and Dorian Yates.

How did help you reach your goals?

I've read many articles and ordered lots of supplements from I met my fiancee on BodySpace three years ago. She is a figure competitor and we provide tremendous support for each other. It makes it much easier in the gym and at home when we both have similar goals. We constantly push ourselves to break through barriers and achieve our goals.

Michael's Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. "Vilify" by Device
  2. "Ultranumb" by Blue Stahli
  3. "Giving In" by Adema
  4. "Monster" by Skillet
  5. "Sleep Now in the Fire" by Rage Against The Machine
Contest History
  • 2013 NPC Europa Battle of Champions - 1st Place Novice Heavyweight, 2nd Place Open Light-Heavyweight
Photo Credit

Jess McDougall Creative